(Recasts, updates prices, adds details)
By Mai Nguyen and Tom Daly
SINGAPORE/BEIJING, Aug 27 (Reuters) - London nickel prices on Tuesday were on track to close higher than tin prices for the first time since September 2010, buoyed by a recent rally in nickel prices and declines in tin prices.
Nickel on the London Metal Exchange (LME) rose as much as 1.6% to $15,910 a tonne in early Asian trading, briefly surpassing the tin contract, which hit a fresh three-year low of $15,765 a tonne.
If nickel closes above tin on the LME, it would be the first time since Sept. 15, 2010, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.
Nickel has been a rising star in the base metals complex, soaring nearly 50% so far this year on the LME, boosted by worries of supply disruption, solid demand and technical trading.
LME tin, the worst performer among all base metals, has lost 19% so far this year due to weak demand. China’s tin smelters recently cut production due to sluggish sales, low processing fees and reduced availability of ore.
“I have never seen this during my career. Finally. But it is by tin price going down. It should be by nickel prices going up,” said Yim Suk Jae, a manager at STX Corp, which handles supply from the Ambatovy nickel and cobalt project.
* PRICES: Three-month copper on the LME rose 0.3% to $5,652 a tonne by 0435 GMT, while the most-traded copper contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange advanced 0.8% to 46,440 yuan ($6,547.48) a tonne.
* TRADE DEAL: U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday predicted a trade deal with China after positive gestures by Beijing, but gains in metals were capped as the bruising trade war shown a tendency to quickly reverse direction.
* COPPER: Germany’s Wieland, one of the world’s largest copper product makers, said on Monday it would reduce working hours at a German plant from next month because of the slowing global economy.
* CHINA: Profits at China’s industrial firms returned to growth in July, helped by public works spending and improved margins in some sectors, but an economic slowdown and the U.S. trade war are seen weighing on business outlook. [nL3N25N0IZ
* CHINA HOUSING: China’s housing market is expected to slow this year with sales forecast to drop, as Beijing steps up efforts to scrutinise banks and provincial governments to keep a lid on lending and prices, a Reuters poll showed.
* PRICES: LME aluminium fell 0.3%, zinc decreased 0.6% and lead edged up 0.1%. Shanghai zinc advanced 1.2%, lead increased 1.2% while aluminium edged up 0.2%.
* LITHIUM: Pilbara Minerals Ltd took a stake in its Australian lithium mine off the market, cut its sales forecast and curbed spending plans amid a downturn in the lithium market.
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Three month LME copper
Most active ShFE copper
Three month LME aluminium
Most active ShFE aluminium
Three month LME zinc
Most active ShFE zinc
Three month LME lead
Most active ShFE lead
Three month LME nickel
Most active ShFE nickel
Three month LME tin
Most active ShFE tin
ARBS ($1 = 7.0928 Chinese yuan renminbi)
Reporting by Mai Nguyen in Singapore and Tom Daly in Beijing; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Richard Pullin